Whether you come from a family of naturopaths, a long line of medical school grads, or you were regularly instructed to just “walk it off,” you probably noticed a bag of Epsom salts stashed in the medicine cabinet growing up. They may have been pulled out for the occasional foot soak, but the home remedy superstar probably didn’t get the type of regular use it deserves.There’s a reason mom always kept a salt supply handy – everyone from the high school track coach to the World Health Organization recommends Epsom salt as a safe solution to a wide range of mild to moderate ailments. Anyone with experience in organized sports can attest to the healing benefits of adding a few cups of Epsom salt to their post-workout bath.
But what happens when we add 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt? At True REST, we harness a wide range of health benefits by utilizing a 30% salt solution in each soak.
First, let’s talk about what it is: Epsom salt is the commonly used term for magnesium sulfate. Separately, each of these minerals is involved in key functions to maintain basic health. Magnesium helps to regulate hundreds of enzymatic systems, including blood glucose balance and blood pressure control. It is also one of the ions involved in the nerve impulse processes that manage muscle movement and normal heart rhythm.
Within the body, sulfates primarily function as a conduit to build proteins in our joints, brain tissues, and muscles. Sulfates also work as a detox powerhouse, helping to flush toxins and carry them out of the body.
When working together, magnesium sulfate maintain the basics: blood pressure, breathing, and hearth rhythm. While we may go about our daily lives without consciously considering these processes, any flaw in these systems is an obvious factor in a variety of major medical concerns. At the very least, the discomfort associated with a blood pressure or breathing abnormality, even when very minor, can cause enough distraction to derail an entire day.
Supplements ensure we sustain the mineral intake we need to support overall health; but when we float, our body’s largest organ does the heavy lifting for us. Both of the minerals found in Epsom salts are easily absorbed through our skin for utilization by all of our major health systems. Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK have shown that regular skin exposure to Epsom salts improves the mineral content in the blood stream within just a few hours. The trick? The researchers found that large-scale saturation of the skin produced optimum results – meaning you should go ahead and soak it in.
In addition to moderating mineral levels, floating in magnesium sulfate has the added benefit of decreasing inflammation and drawing out impurities from the body. Even patients with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia report a significant improvement in pain management with a regular floating practice. Your daily magnesium supplement can’t do that!
If you’re wondering if there are any dangers associated with such a high content of Epsom salts, rest easy. Due to its natural detoxification properties, the body will absorb what it needs from the float session and dispose of any excess. Researchers agree that floating regularly is a safe and effective way to maintain the magnesium and sulfate levels necessary for optimal health. Schedule consistent floating sessions to relieve pain and breathe easy. adapted from TrueRest.com
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MAGNESIUM
Magnesium's benefits can include reduced symptoms from conditions such as chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia. Magnesium may also provide protection from a number of chronic diseases, especially those associated with aging and stress.
Essential to life, necessary for good health, and a vital component within our cells, magnesium's benefits help our bodies maintain balance, avoid illness, perform well under stress, and maintain a general state of good health.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BENEFIT FROM MAGNESIUM?
Magnesium is known to reduce muscle tension, lessen pain associated with migraine headaches, improve sleep, and address neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Conditions linked to magnesium levels include:
Muscle Spasms and Muscle Cramps
Autism and ADD
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Psoriasis, Acne and Eczema
Magnesium works within our cells — the powerhouses, factories and regulators of the body’s systems.
Because it is a necessary part of hundreds of biochemical reactions occurring constantly inside our cells, magnesium's presence or absence affects the brain, the muscles, and the heart and blood vessels.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MAGNESIUM?
Magnesium impacts nearly all of systems of the body due to its cellular and molecular function. As a fundamental ion in the body (a charged particle soluble in water) magnesium is utilized in key chemical reactions on a microscopic level throughout the body’s cells, including its vital role as a co-factor to over 300 enzyme functions, and its role in DNA and RNA stability.
Is an important factor in muscle relaxation and heart health
Allows nerves to send messages in the brain and nervous system
Aids and regulates the body’s use of calcium and other minerals
Assists in bone and teeth formation
Regulates the metabolism of nutrients such as protein, nucleic acids, fats and carbohydrates
Regulates cholesterol production and helps modulate insulin sensitivity
Assists in energy production, DNA transcription and protein synthesis
Maintains the structural health of cell membranes throughout the body
Healthy magnesium levels have been linked to lowered blood pressure, reduced incidence of type II diabetes, emergency migraine treatment, reduced symptoms of asthma, and improved memory.
Magnesium is also a healthy part of bone and a necessary element in healthy calcium regulation. Increased magnesium has been linked to reduced bone loss in older adults.
WHY DO WE NEED MAGNESIUM?
Magnesium is distinguished as being not only one of the most vital and essential enzyme co-factors, regulating more reactions than any other mineral, but it is also responsible for two of the most important cellular functions: energy production and cellular reproduction.
When we don’t take in adequate magnesium, our bodies will either remove magnesium from our bones or function in deficiency.
Magnesium and other minerals absorbed into the body are utilized as “ions” and circulated throughout the body via the blood. There, magnesium is used by our cells in order to perform routine functions such as creating energy, building hormones, maintaining cells, and bodily movement. Once circulated through the body, magnesium is filtered by our kidneys and excreted on a regular basis.
Magnesium must be continually supplied to the body as it is needed on an ongoing basis.
Operating in magnesium deficiency disrupts the balance of not only magnesium but other minerals in the body, causing problems that reverberate throughout the body’s systems.
Low magnesium intake has been linked to risk factors for:
High blood pressure
Issues of heart health
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
muscle cramps or tremors
irregular heart beat
ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH MAGNESIUM?
Symptoms of poor magnesium intake can include muscle cramps, facial tics, poor sleep, and chronic pain. It pays to ensure that you get adequate magnesium before signs of deficiency occur.
But how can you know whether you’re getting enough?
One method of assessing your magnesium status is to simply contact your health care provider and request detailed magnesium testing. Yet magnesium assessment is typically done using blood serum testing, and these tests can be misleading. Only 1% of magnesium in the body is actually found in blood, and only .3% is found in blood serum, so clinical blood serum testing may not successfully identify magnesium deficiency.
What to do?
Fortunately, it’s possible to get a sense of where your intake may lie simply by asking yourself a few questions about your lifestyle, and watching for certain signs and signals of low magnesium levels. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be at risk for low magnesium intake.
Do you drink carbonated beverages on a regular basis?
Most dark colored sodas contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking today with your meals you are flushing magnesium out of your system.
Do you regularly eat pastries, cakes, desserts, candies or other sweet foods?
Refined sugar is not only a zero magnesium product but it also causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys.
Do you experience a lot of stress in your life, or have you recently had a major medical procedure such as surgery?
Both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency. Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem.
Do you drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks daily?
Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. But caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.
If you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda regularly, your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased.
Do you take a diuretic, heart medication, asthma medication, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy?
The effects of certain drugs have been shown to reduce magnesium levels in the body by increasing magnesium loss through excretion by the kidneys.
Do you drink more than seven alcoholic beverages per week?
The effect of alcohol on magnesium levels is similar to the effect of diuretics: it lowers magnesium available to the cells by increasing the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys.
Do you take calcium supplements without magnesium or calcium supplements with magnesium in less than a 1:1 ratio?
Studies have shown that when magnesium intake is low, calcium supplementation may reduce magnesium absorption and retention.
Do you experience any of the following:
Times of hyperactivity?
Difficulty getting to sleep?
Difficulty staying asleep?
The above symptoms may be neurological signs of magnesium deficiency. Adequate magnesium is necessary for nerve conduction and is also associated with electrolyte imbalances that affect the nervous system. Low magnesium is also associated with personality changes and sometimes depression.
Painful muscle spasms?
Eye twitches, or involuntary eye movements?
Neuromuscular symptoms such as these are among the classic signs of a potential magnesium deficit. Magnesium is a required element of muscle relaxation, and without it our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction.
Did you answer yes to any of the above questions and are also age 55 or older?
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to low magnesium status. It has been shown that aging, stress and disease all contribute to increasing magnesium needs, yet most older adults actually take in less magnesium from food sources than when they were younger.
In addition, magnesium metabolism may be less efficient as we grow older, as changes the GI tract and kidneys contribute to older adults absorbing less and retaining less magnesium.
Above information adapted from http://www.ancient-minerals.com.